The Simpsons Sitcom Essay Sample
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The Simpsons Sitcom Essay Sample
The Simpsons is the most successful animated feature in television history. In this essay I will discuss some of the features of The Simpsons that make it so successful from the brilliant and intelligent Mini-narratives to the predictable but hilarious stereotypes.
Although The Simpsons is entertaining it also has a very fascinating history which actually reaches back to 1987when the show was only a weekly comic strip for a set of regional newspapers such as “life in hell”.
Cartoons have specific codes and conventions. For example cartoons often tend to be bright. This is especially effective because it will draw in a young audience and is extremely “friendly” to young children. In addition to this, another code or convention of another cartoon is that the main characters never die. To me, this suggests that most cartoons are designed for young children who don’t have despair or sorrow in their lives. Cartoons, in this sense, keep young children from seeing the dark and terrible things that happen in real life.
Sitcoms usually tend to be brimming with hilarious jokes which will leave you with you in Hysterics, but is also very watch able. There is usually one setting for the characters which is where they live. For example, in the Simpsons we are mainly shown the characters house. This exemplifies the idea that the show is based on one family. Furthermore, this could suggest that this family is much more different from the average family because the Simpson family rush home from either work, school or shopping (shown in the title sequence) so the can sit on the sofa and watch television.
The Simpsons is a sitcom because it contains the key Components of the sitcom genre. For example, the Simpsons is very funny and always ends happily. This suggests that the Simpsons is definitely a sitcom, but it is not always classified as a sitcom. One could refer to it as a sitcom but then other ingredients of the show suggest that it is of an entirely different genre.
However, The Simpsons is different to many sitcoms because it breaches some of the rules of the sitcom genre. For example, the show is animated, it has guest characters, makes jokes about the media and contains surreal humour. An example of the shows tendency to contravene the rules of the sitcom genre, can be found in “the Springfield files”. During this episode, we see the use of an alien which is something we won’t see regularly in sitcoms. This shows that the Simpsons isn’t exactly an ordinary sitcom. This could also mean that the show has accidentally inherited the qualities of the sitcom genre. To me, this suggests that the Simpsons can be graded as a generically composite programme for it contains other generic qualities. As a result, you can never expect or predict what the next episode’s genre will be.
The Simpsons is a exceedingly humorous programme. An example of humour in “Homer Badman” is when Homer explains to an infuriated mob of protesters that he is a decent guy. Then a second after his dressing gown flies open and exposes his genitals, making him look like a flasher. This suggests that this kind of joke is aimed at adults because it contains a mild theme of an adult nature. However, this could also mean that Homer is a really unlucky guy for bad things seem to happen to him. To me this implies that the creator of The Simpsons wants to show Homer as an unfortunate man who is generally in the wrong place at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The Simpsons humour appeals to adults and children of all ages. An example of this is in “Homer Badman” when Bart and Lisa secretly hug the television even though their dad is being persecuted by it. This hints that maybe Bart and Lisa feel more affection towards the media than their father. This could also mean that the mass media can indoctrinate people making them think it is the most important thing in life. To me, this proposes that the media have some kind of influence over the way people live their lives.
In the opening sequence of “the Springfield file”, I could observe many of the techniques which make the Simpsons so popular. The opening sequence uses many mini-narratives. For example, when doctor Hibbert leaves a patient in an x-ray. This could suggest that doctor Hibbert is either a very forgetful or lazy person. However, this could alternatively mean that his job is very tiring so it compels him to forget things. To me, this suggest that he just can’t be bothered to check whether everything’s finished and just can’t wait to cease work.
The episode I observed uses mini-narratives because they are able to engage us and amuse us quickly, and in rapid succession. An excellent example of this is when Smithers and Burns discuss what Smithers will be doing that night, and then another mini-narrative is shown immediately after this one finishes. This suggests that the creators have tried to make the show into a quick-fire comedy. However, this could also imply that the creator is quite fond of comedy because mini-narrative appear quite frequently in this episode. One could speculate that the creator has set out to make us laugh because of the unlimited use of mini-narratives.
In the opening sequence stereotypes are shown. For example, chief wiggam is an irresponsible, overweight, doughnut-eating police officer. This proposes that in the world of the Simpsons (like ours, some say) police are unreliable. In addition, this could insinuate that this is the way authority is perceived by the creators. One can interpret this as being an expression of the belief that police officers are lazy and not doing their jobs properly, something which would infuriate tax payers.
The opening sequence uses satirical jokes. For instance, there is also a ridicule of a science fiction boffin who speaks pseudo-scientific psycho-babble. This suggests that The Simpsons is trying to make us think highly of it by throwing long complex words at us. Furthermore, this could Connote that the creator is trying to humiliate science boffins. One can interpret this as being an example of the growing belief that Science-Fiction Fanatics don’t know what they are so enthusing about.
Satire is used to link the show, to reality. A Paradigm of this is the joke about the drunken Russian prime minister, Boris Yelksin. This could suggest that The Simpsons is trying to discredit the Russian prime minister by enlarging the fact that he is an alcoholic. A tactic which is often used to great effect by the mass media. This could also mean that the show is just attempting to humiliate a political leader or show us that there are some who are bad role models. To me, this implies that The Simpsons is using this just to make people keep them entertained.
Some examples of intertextuality in “The Springfield files” are the reference to the film “speed” and the fact that the show is linked to the “x files” by music, title and subject. This could imply that the episode was set out to mimic or imitate these examples. However, this could also mean that the creator enjoyed watching the examples so much that he wanted to make an episode with the same theme. This could easily allow someone to suggest that the episode has intended to use a theme that people can relate. Intertextuality is used like satire to odd to the “real ness” of the Springfield world and also to add to the verisimilitude of “The Simpsons”.
The Simpsons, who pull in millions and millions of viewers each week are constantly being criticised for being bad or poor role models for teenagers and young children. One of the main characters who is being pulled into this category is Homer Simpson. Homer is often blasted by critics for being lazy obese and in many cases a child abuser. However, there is more to Homer than critics believe. He may do things which are deemed wrong, something which everyone does, but concealed behind the wrong doing there are good deeds that go undetected. Things like the fact that he is actually a good father, keeps his family happy, he’s got a job and isn’t unemployed and he’s put a roof other his families heads and clothes on their backs. Surely, this is something that all fathers should aspire to? Doesn’t this prove that these are decent people who don’t just think about themselves? The Simpsons do not think of themselves as though they are better than anyone else. Furthermore there are other characters in the Simpsons family who hardly ever do anything wrong. Take Lisa Simpson for an example. Lisa is very intelligent and talented but never boasts about it. She also likes to help others and is very ambitious. We’ve all met someone like Homer who may act in a way that most people will say is wrong but who turns out, beneath it all, to be the complete opposite of what seem or make out to be. So how can anyone say that the Simpsons family are bad role models?
In conclusion, I have believe The Simpsons is popular because it appeals to a range of ages, cultures, races and genders. The Simpsons also regularly contains fresh new ideas to stop people from getting bored and It is up to date with the latest news so some episodes have a theme which relates to what is happening now.
The title sequence of the Simpsons begins with a build up of pearl white clouds which slide to the side of the screen and reveals the Simpsons title in yellow writing. The sequence ends with the Simpson family sitting on the sofa watching the television. Then the camera changes so you can see the television from the Simpsons point of view and the television shows you the shows creators.
The title sequence uses a variety of visual effects to create effect. An example of an effective visual effect is when the camera the camera jumps from one scene to the next by following each of the main characters. Sound is important in the title sequence too. An example of this is at the start when we hear heavenly music which suggests that this cartoon is going to be about well behaved people who don’t do anything wrong.
The beginning and ending of the sequence suggests that the Simpsons are a typical everyday family. This is shown when you see them all grouped around the television.
We are shown many important places in Springfield during the title sequence such as Springfield elementary school where Bart and Lisa attend. In this scene we see Bart writing on lines on a black board which changes every episode. For example, in “the Simpson files” Bart writes “the truth is out there”
These places represent important aspects of life in Springfield. For example, the school shows us that you can be punished for being or seeming more talented than others. For example, Lisa is sent out of her music lesson. During the title sequence we observe each member of the Simpson family behaving in a certain way. For instance, when Homer leaves work the second the bell goes blind to the fact that a nuclear rod has just fallen down the back of his top. This suggests that he really hates his job and seems like he would rather be somewhere else.
The way each character behaves connotes important aspects of their personalities. An example of this is that Bart is always writing different lines on the black board. This suggests that Bart likes to break rules, because he is always in trouble. The audience also learn a lot about the Simpson family unit in the title sequence. One of the things that we learn is that the Simpsons like to seek comfort by watching television as soon as they finish their daily routines.
During the title sequence we are introduced to many of the minor characters for we see chief Wiggam the local police officer shouting at Bart but not stopping him from what he is doing. This suggests that chief Wiggam is unavailing.
Many of the minor characters represent common stereotypes in American society. We can observe a stereotype by examining the character of Barney Gumble an alcoholic and a close friend of Homer Simpson. Barney represents most alcoholics in American society. This is shown when Bart skates past him and Barney stands still and burps.
Sections of the sequence changes from episode, for instance how the Simpsons get to the sofa an example of this is when the Simpsons use jetpacks to get to the sofa.
The creators add these changes in order to keep the viewers focused and entertained while they watch the title sequence so they keep the viewers unenlightened on what will happen in the next title sequence.
I believe that the Simpsons will continue to be popular because it appeals to all ages, so the creators know what people of different age groups want to see in a cartoon.